Monday, October 23, 2017

Be prepared for everything. Be prepared at all times. Be prepared wherever you are.

 “Gird your loins and light your lamps  and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.  Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival."  (Luke 12:  35 - 37).

We all know that life is a Journey. Our destination is Heaven. When does the critical transition happen? Nobody knows. The One who knows will never let us into the secret. But He gives us the next best thing. Since you do not know when the bus will arrive, if you do not want to miss it, you must wait for it with critical discipline as if your very life depends on catching Bus #777.

Be ready at all times.
Be ready for anything.
Be ready anywhere you may be.

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Sunday, October 22, 2017

You too can imitate the Faith of Abraham.

"Abraham did not doubt God’s promise in unbelief; rather, he was empowered by faith and gave glory to God and was fully convinced that what God had promised he was also able to do.
That is why it was credited to him as righteousness."  (Romans 4: 20 - 22).

Regard the faith of Abraham as the gold standard and emulate it.

What is Promise?
What is Faith?
What is the difference between Faith and Unbelief?
Why is Faith so pleasing to God and why is it so highly rewarded?
What is righteousness? How do you become righteous in the Eyes of God?

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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Never give to Caesar what belongs to God.

“Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God.” (Matthew 22:21)

Caesar represents earthly powers and governments. Christ says that we must recognize the rights of earthly powers and governments. Scripture teaches that God installs governments. All power comes from God.  (Cf Romans 13: 1).  We are not only to obey them but we are urged to pray for them. (Cf 1 Timothy 2: 1 - 2).

What belongs to Caesar?
Work: Monday to Saturday.
taxes, civil obedience, etc.

We offer to God what is properly His. This includes:
Obedience, Worship, Prayer, Love.

Is there a conflict? When Caesar wants what belongs to God, the Christian must say no. We must obey God rather than man, St. Peter said.  (Acts 5: 29).  Jesus Christ foreseeing the conflict urges his follower not to fear the person who can destroy the body and can do nothing more. The person to fear is God, who can destroy body and soul in hell.  (Matthew 10: 28).

The martyrs of the Church never tried to deprive Caesar of what belongs to him. It was always Caesar who keeps what belongs to him and wants to deprive the creator of what belongs to Him.

Consider something that belongs to God that is very dear to His Heart.
"Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy."  (Exodus 20: 28).

This is what the Church teaches on keeping holy the Lord's Day.

"On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are to refrain from engaging in work or activities that hinder the worship owed to God, the joy proper to the Lord's Day, the performance of the works of mercy, and the appropriate relaxation of mind and body. Family needs or important social service can legitimately excuse from the obligation of Sunday rest. The faithful should see to it that legitimate excuses do not lead to habits prejudicial to religion, family life, and health.

The charity of truth seeks holy leisure - the necessity of charity accepts just work."  (CCC 2185).

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Friday, October 20, 2017

Only in God can I hope against hope.

"He believed, hoping against hope,
that he would become the father of many nations, according to what was said, Thus shall your descendants be."  (Romans 4: 17 - 18).

What does it mean to hope against hope? Have you ever hoped against hope? Yes I have. A couple of times  I was in a situation where no hope or remedy could be expected. Even in such dire situation, in rear sight, I saw a tiny flicker of hope.
Hope like faith and love are theological virtues.  They are supernatural gifts.  Direct gifts of God Himself. "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who builds." (Psalm 127: 1).

How can we believe that God will give us the gifts of Faith, Hope and Charity? Because when we believe and become reconciled to God, God gave us the Holy Spirit to live inside us.  The presence of the Holy Spirit is the guarantee of these supernatural gifts.

"Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us."  (Romans 5: 5 NKJV).

The nature of God is to keep His promises come what may.  And "The Lord remembers his covenant for ever."Psalm 105: 8).

"May your grace, O Lord, we pray,
at all times go before us and follow after and make us always determined to carry out good works.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever."  (Collect : Saturday of 28th Week).

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Divine Providence is the sweetest Doctrine of our Faith.

"Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins?  Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God.  Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows."  (Luke 12: 6 - 7).

It amazes me every day I think of this truth of our faith:  Our God micro manages our lives. This is called Divine Providence, the sweetest doctrine of our Faith. God did not create and dump us to get on with life.  Not at all. He provides step-by-step directions and moment by moment protection. The Church Fathers and the Doctors of the Church treat the Doctrine of Divine Providence with such lavish joy.  Here is what the Church teaches today about Divine Providence:

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church :

321 Divine providence consists of the dispositions by which God guides all his creatures with wisdom and love to their ultimate end.

322 Christ invites us to filial trust in the providence of our heavenly Father (cf.Mt 6:26-34), and St. Peter the apostle repeats: "Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you" (I Peter  5:7; cf. Psalm 55:23).

323 Divine providence works also through the actions of creatures. To human beings God grants the ability to cooperate freely with his plans.

324 The fact that God permits physical and even moral evil is a mystery that God illuminates by his Son Jesus Christ who died and rose to vanquish evil. Faith gives us the certainty that God would not permit an evil if he did not cause a good to come from that very evil, by ways that we shall fully know only in eternal life.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

You are not qualified. Try again next year.

"For we consider that a person is justified by faith apart from works of the law." (Romans 3: 28 NABRE).

"For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law."  (Romans 3: 28 NIV).

"So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law." (Romans 3: 28 NLT).

For clarity, 3 versions of the key Scripture for today are presented.

Scripture teaches that the just man lives by faith. (Cf Romans 1:17, Hebrews 10: 38, Habakkuk 2: 4).
It means that it is through faith that we appropriate all the promised blessings of God.  We are justified before God by faith in Jesus the Christ.  Another word for justification is qualification. Consider this scenario:

You submit an application for a "job" with God. You are filled with misgivings because you know you are just not qualified. God reviews your application.  He is about to toss it out when He notices where you wrote in the footnote: "I also believe in Jesus Christ."  He smiles and says "That is the only thing I am looking for."

You are now qualified and can ask for any favors.
Our sins disqualify our relationship with God.  We are made righteous  through faith in the death of Jesus the Christ on the cross.  His death paid the debt of Sin.
If you think this is amazingly too simplistic to be true, you are not alone. But believe the Bible, believe the Church: No Justification, No Salvation. No favors.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The harvest is abundant but the laborers are still very few.

"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings of peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation!"  (Isaiah 52: 7).

Such beautiful feet are those of St Luke the Evangelist whose feast we celebrate today. St Luke wrote:    “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest."  (Luke 10: 2).  The Master of the harvest, God the Father sent Luke to preach the word and author the Gospel according to St Luke. A few words on the profile of St Luke is in order here.

According to Tradition, St Luke is a Gentile physician. When he heard the Good News, he abandoned his medical practice and attached himself to St Paul as his traveling companion. He demonstrated a thorough research and an eye to detail in his subjects.  He showed a preferential option for the poor, women and sinners. Without St Luke, our knowledge of the life and work of Jesus Christ would be poorer.

“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few."  (Luke 10: 2).  It was so in the beginning. It is still so today.
So many people in our communities no longer consider themselves members of any Church and live lives far removed from the Gospel of Christ. How do we reach these people? This is the challenge for you and me. Whatever answer you have, consider Prayer as the first tool.

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Monday, October 16, 2017

The word of God is living and effective.

 "For I am not ashamed of the gospel. It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes."  (Romans 1: 16).

The consequence of St Paul not being ashamed of the Good News is that St Paul evangelized or shared the Gospel day and night, season and out of season. (Acts 4: 2, 1 Thessalonians 2: 9).  Paul advised Timothy and us to follow his example (2 Timothy 4: 2).

Are you ashamed of sharing the Gospel?  How enthusiastic are you in sharing it at home, school, work and everywhere?

"But whoever denies me before people I, too, will deny before my Father in heaven."  (Matthew 10: 33).

The Bible has more to say about people who refuse to acknowledge God and give Him honor and glory:

"For although they knew God they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks. Instead, they became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened.  While claiming to be wise, they became fools  and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for the likeness of an image of mortal man or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes."  (Romans 1: 21 - 23).

Lord Jesus, save us from this fate by all means.

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Sunday, October 15, 2017

We remember and honor a holy Virgin of Jesus Christ.

"How beautiful you are, O Virgin of Christ, who were worthy to receive the Lord's crown 👑, the crown of perpetual virginity."  (Entrance Antiphon, feast of St Margaret Mary Alacoque. Monday, 28th Week of Ordinary Time).

Why should a young, beautiful and sane woman abandon the joys and romance of marriage and motherhood to become one of the Virgins of Jesus Christ?
Because of something more:

"And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life."  (Matthew 19: 29).

The Church rejoices with St Margaret Mary, Virgin and Visionary on the occasion of her feast day.

"Pour out on us, we pray, O Lord, the spirit with which You so remarkably endowed St Margaret Mary, so that we may come to know that love of Christ which surpasses all understanding and be utterly filled with Your fullness. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."  (Collect, Feast of St Margaret Mary).

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Saturday, October 14, 2017

The invited guests refused to come.

The Gospel this Sunday (Matthew 22: 1- 14) is a sad parable to read.
The President gave a wedding feast for his son. The invited guests refused to come. He sent another reminder:  "Everything is ready; come to the feast." They ignored the invitation, gave insulting excuses  and to add insult to injury abused the official messengers.

Now consider this:
"On this mountain the Lord of Hosts will provide for all peoples
A feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines."  (Isaiah 25: 6)

Before the Lord provided a feast of rich food and choice wine, before He gave the wedding feast for His son, He had made a provision for the Day:
"Remember the sabbath day—keep it holy."  (Exodus 20: 8).

The Sabbath Day, Sunday is a Day of Rest and festivities. The biggest feast is the Eucharist. The parable in Matthew 22: 1 - 14, reflects what happens today.  The invited guests refuse to come. But why?

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Friday, October 13, 2017

Yes, I believe. Let it be done for me exactly as You promised.

"While Jesus was speaking, a woman from the crowd called out and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.”
He replied, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”  (Luke 11: 27 - 28).

What did this pious woman observe in Jesus that filled her with awe and wonder in this truly awesome personality. She probably sensed in her inner spirit, an indefinable person in whom the Eternal Word became flesh. The Christus? The Messiah? Some great Prophet? We may never know. It is the response of Jesus to this lady that we shall consider briefly.

"Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”  (Luke 11: 28).

Who is the original target of the word?  Mary the Mother of Jesus. The Angel Gabriel brought a message to her from Abba Father. You Mary will become pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit and give birth to a little boy, who will be called Jesus. Mary replied:
"I am the Lord's servant. May everything you have said about me come true."  (Luke 1: 38).

Are you capable of such a faith?
When God told Cyrus King of Persia: "I will make you a powerful king and use you to end the Babylonian captivity of my people." Cyrus believed God. (Cf Isaiah 44: 28).
A young man not overly religious like Cyrus rose up one day and told us some ten years ago that he was destined to be the President of the United States of America. He believed this. Just like Cyrus, the rest is history.

Mary is the Ideal and Exemplar of listening to the word of God and observing it.

Who are the losers? Those who listen to the word of man (TV, News, Gossips) more than they listen to the word of God.

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Remember the Four Last Things.

"The Lord will judge the world with justice.

"I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart;
I will declare all your wondrous deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, Most High.

"You rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked;
their name you blotted out forever and ever.

"But the LORD sits enthroned forever; he has set up his throne for judgment.
He judges the world with justice;
he governs the peoples with equity.

The Lord will judge the world with justice."  (Psalm 9: 2 - 3, 6, 8 - 9)

Today's Responsorial Psalm reminds us of the Four Last Things:
Death, Judgment, Heaven or Hell.

While nobody can escape these, the Scriptures comfort us by reminding us that God tempers justice with mercy.  Remember therefore the ABC of Mercy:

Ask for Mercy.
Be Merciful.
Completely trust Jesus for Mercy.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

God is yearning and waiting for you to ask Him small and big favors.

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened."  (Luke 11: 9 - 10).

The above Scripture, the greatest encouragement to prayer is well known. But do you believe it?  Or do you think that answers to prayer is reserved for a lucky few?
Please note that in Luke 11: 9 - 10, it is God Himself who makes the promise without pressure or any showmanship. God is not running for election to claim what He could never do. In brief, God never lies.
"God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?"  (Numbers 23: 19).

God wants us to ask Him for everything we need.  He knows that there is no better way to grow in faith than to experience the pure joy of answered prayer.  Saints append Luke 11: 9 - 10 at the end of their petitions. The Church prays in like manner.  Call this: the ground for confidence in prayer. God Never Fails! Period!!!

Let us thank God for the gift of Prayer. Without this gift, we will all be Unbelievers.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Simple rules of Prayer

“Lord, teach us to pray...... When you pray, say:"  Then Jesus gave His disciples the Lord's Prayer, "the most perfect of prayers" (CCC 2763). Let us consider a few points about Prayer.

#1.  Nowhere in Scriptures did Jesus teach that work is a  necessity. He taught that Prayer is a vital necessity:  "Then he told them a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary."  (Luke 18: 1).

#2.  The experience of saints confirm the ancient axiom that a spiritual warrior advances on his knees.  "With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication.." (Ephesians 6: 18).

#3.  The fruit of prayer is peace.
"The fruit of Silence is prayer.The fruit of Prayer is faith.The fruit of Faith is love.The fruit of Love is service.The fruit of Service is peace." (Mother St Teresa of Kolkata). Everything in fact starts with Prayer.

Now let us consider the environment of Prayer.  We may call it the 4 S of Prayer. All begin with S for sacred. Sacred means set apart for a holy purpose.

1. Sacred Time:  Do you have a specific and fixed time set aside for prayer? If you don't, it will be hard to form the habit of Prayer.
2. Sacred Place:  Where do you pray? Whenever I come to a new place like a hotel room, I consecrate a part of the room for Prayer by spreading what the Moslems call the prayer mat.  In my case, I place a Bible, candle 🕯, crucifix, Rosary and a spiritual book on the table.
3. Sacred Intention: Prayer time is communion with God and my mind must be cleared of all distractions. 
4.  Sacred Posture: There is a posture for prayer and a posture for watching television or chatting with your buddy.  If you have the privilege of being in the Oval Office, how do you stand or sit?  Kings David and Solomon knelt and prostrated before Almighty God. Jesus adopted a posture of filial humility before His heavenly Father.
Cause no harm when you pray.

Saints teach us that if we understand the meaning of the Lord's Prayer and say it with faith and humility, that is the only prayer we will ever need.

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Monday, October 09, 2017

Be still and know that I am God.

"Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.”  The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”  (Luke 10: 40 - 42).

Jesus lays down this judgment: Between Martha and Mary, it is Mary who is smarter.  You may argue, but this is the word of God. Remember too that God says:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways—oracle of the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts."  (Isaiah 55: 8 - 9).

Martha was so anxious to offer Jesus her renowned gift of hospitality that she missed the gift of the word of God which Jesus brought to her home. 🌿.
Allow God to bless you with His gifts.

"For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel:
By waiting and by calm you shall be saved, in quiet and in trust shall be your strength.
But this you did not will."  (Isaiah 30: 15)

“Lord, Lord, King and Ruler of all, everything is in your power, and there is no one to oppose you when it is your will to save Israel.  You made heaven and earth and every wonderful thing under heaven.  You are Lord of all, and there is no one who can resist you, the Lord.  You know all things."  (Esther 4: 2 - 5)

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In my distress, I cried for help, the Lord heard me.

"Out of my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me;
From the midst of the nether world I cried for help, and you heard my voice."  (Jonah 2: 3).

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Thursday, October 05, 2017

O Israel, what does your God require of you today?

"During the Babylonian captivity, the exiles prayed:
“Justice is with the Lord, our God;
and we today are flushed with shame, we men of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem, that we, with our kings and rulers and priests and prophets, and with our ancestors, have sinned in the Lord’s sight and disobeyed him.
We have neither heeded the voice of the Lord, our God, nor followed the precepts which the Lord set before us.
From the time the Lord led our ancestors out of the land of Egypt
until the present day, we have been disobedient to the Lord, our God, and only too ready to disregard his voice."  (Baruch 1: 15 - 19).

What is going on here? The Israelites had lived outside the Law for a long time.  The prophets and priests sent to them by the Lord Yahweh spoke and screamed but to deaf ears.
A wise proverb says: "Everyday for the thief but one day for the owner of the house."  When God decided to strike, it was by the way of a very long and painful exile. Consider our country here and now.

Weeks after the 9/11 event, the significance and message of the historic event was accurately discerned by many people. Then the empire struck back by means of the powerful Media. The Church was tongue-tied and could not fight back. The opportunity of a Revival riding on the back of 9/11 was lost. But our God is a God of a Second Chance.

O Israel, what does Your God require of you?
Ask for Mercy.
Be Merciful.
Completely trust Jesus for Mercy.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2017

The Joy of the Lord is your strength.

"Do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in the Lord is your strength!” (Nehemiah 8: 10).

The power of joy is unbelievable.  Do you know that you can have a powerful ministry of joy or cheerfulness?

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!"  (Philippians 4: 4).  Joy is contagious. Spread it freely.

St Philip Neri, gifted evangelizer, also known as Apostle of Rome, founder of the the Oratorians was noted for his ministry of cheerfulness. Just by being joyful and cheerful, he attracted many souls to Christ. Joyfulness or cheerfulness is so easy to notice in people. This is why many spiritual writers have identified it as the sure mark of the Holy Spirit in a soul.

"This is what the Sovereign Lord,
the Holy One of Israel, says:
“Only in returning to me
and resting in me will you be saved.
In quietness and confidence is your strength."  (Isaiah 30: 15)

So in quietness, confidence, joy and cheerfulness shall lie your strength.
Do you want to try the Joy Therapy?

"The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart." (Psalm 19: 9).
If you want Joy to permeate your personality, immerse yourself in the word of God. The Holy Spirit will notice and come with other gifts.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Francis, repair My Church.

“Why do you look sad? If you are not sick, you must be sad at heart.” (Nehemiah 2: 2).

King Artexerxes asked his page, Nehemiah the above question?
Who is Nehemiah? Nehemiah is one of the men God raised up in the Babylonian captivity to shepherd His people in their transition from slavery to freedom. Unlike Ezra the priest, Nehemiah's gift is administration or governance.

"Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!" (Psalm 42 :11 NLT).

"But, O my soul, don’t be discouraged. Don’t be upset. Expect God to act! For I know that I shall again have plenty of reason to praise him for all that he will do. He is my help! He is my God!"  (Psalm 42: 11 TLB).

"If it please the king, send me to the city of my ancestors and I will rebuild it." (Nehemiah 2: 5).
This is Nehemiah's answer to King Artexerxes.

"How could we sing a song of the LORD in a foreign land?
If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand be forgotten!"  (Psalm 137: 4).

Today, October 4th is the Feast of St Francis of Assisi.  Jesus said to him: "Francis, repair My Church."

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Monday, October 02, 2017

Jesus instructed them on what to take for the Journey.

"When the days for his being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, and he sent messengers ahead of him."  (Luke 9: 51 - 52).

Where there is a Journey, there is a Destination. Biblical narratives are filled with Journeys.  Consider a few:

"Leave your country, your kindred and your father's house for a country which I shall show you." (Genesis 12: 1).

"With their patience worn out by the journey, the people complained against God and Moses."  (Numbers 21: 4).

"But the angel of the LORD came back a second time, touched him, and said, “Get up and eat or the journey will be too much for you!"  (1 Kings 19: 7).

"He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick—no food, no sack, no money in their belts."  (Mark 6: 8)

Our life by divine providence is a Journey. A Journey where the destination is Heaven and the Way is Jesus Himself. It is a long and hazardous Journey where the sick and feeble die on the road.  The Lord Himself has provided food for the Journey, His own Body and Blood.  "The Eucharist is food for the Journey."  (St Ignatius of Antioch).

Where are you today in your life cycle? Quo vadis?

“Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert, where there is no food or water?
We are disgusted with this wretched food!” (Numbers  21: 4 -  5 RM)

"Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation.  Through your goodness we have this delay, disappointment, obstacle to offer, let it become for me like a spiritual drink for the Journey." 

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Sunday, October 01, 2017

The angels of the little ones behold the Face of God continually.

“Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me."  (Matthew 18: 3 - 5)

Jesus praises the humility of a little child.  What is humility?
Just like love, humility is patient and kind.  Humility is not jealous, conceited or proud. It does not keep a record of wrongs. In short, humility is love. 💟.

St Augustine says that Humility is the queen of virtues. He added that you can still get into Heaven by breaking every Commandment in the Book. But you can never get into Heaven without Humility.

Today is the Memorial of Our Guardian Angels.

"O God, who in your unfathomable Providence are pleased to send your holy Angels to guard us,
hear our supplication as we cry to you, that we may always be defended by their protection and rejoice eternally in their company.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever."  (Collect - Feast of the Guardian Angels).

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Saturday, September 30, 2017

Remember Your promises and Your mercies O Lord!

"Never forget your promises to me your servant, for they are my only hope. They give me strength in all my troubles; how they refresh and revive me!" (Psalm 119: 49 - 50).

"For however many are the promises of God, their Yes is in him; therefore, the Amen from us also goes through him to God for glory." (2 Corinthians 1: 20).

Jesus is the reason for our hope.

"At the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."  (Philippians 2: 11).

Jesus I trust in You.

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Friday, September 29, 2017

Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ - St Jerome.

"Lord God, your words were found and I consumed them;
your word became the joy and the happiness of my heart." (Cf Jeremiah 15: 16).

Today is the Feast of St Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church.

"O God, who gave the Priest Saint Jerome a living and tender love for Sacred Scripture, grant that your people may be ever more fruitfully nourished by your Word and find in it the fount of life.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever." (Collect, Saturday 25th Week in Ordinary Time - Feast of St Jerome).

"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the way of sinners,
nor sit in company with scoffers.
Rather, the law of the Lord is his joy;
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted near streams of water, that yields its fruit in season; Its leaves never wither; whatever he does prospers."  (Psalm 1: 1 - 3).

"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ."  (St Jerome).

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Thursday, September 28, 2017

St Michael the Archangel, defend me this day of battle.

"Bless the Lord, all you his angels, mighty in power, fulfilling his word and heeding his voice."  (Psalm 103: 20).

Today is the Feast of the Archangels: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.

The Archangels are God’s special stormtroopers in a manner of speaking. They are charged with very important and delicate missions:

"God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee,  to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.  The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”  (Luke 1: 26 - 28)

"Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.  But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven."  (Revelation 12: 7 - 8).

"I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who stand and serve before the Glory of the Lord.” (Tobit 12: 15)

"The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls "angels" is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition." (CCC #328).

We honor the angels through devotion and prayers.

"O God, who dispose in a marvelous order ministries both angelic and human, graciously grant that our life on earth may be defended by those who watch over us as they minister perpetually to you in heaven.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever."  (Collect on the Feast of the Archangels).

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

What return shall I make to the Lord for His goodness to me?

"Thus says the Lord of hosts: This people has said: “Now is not the time to rebuild the house of the Lord.”  (Haggai 1: 2).

The People of God who came back from a long and arduous exile gave all sorts of lame excuses for not  rebuilding the crumbling Temple.
Are we any different? We say:
After I finish my home....
When my children graduate from college...
When I retire...

Who are we deceiving?

"Then the word of the Lord came through Haggai the prophet:  Is it time for you to dwell in your paneled houses while this house lies in ruins?" (Haggai 1: 3 - 4).

Sometimes God plays tit for tat, quid pro quo with us. Fair game?

"Now thus says the Lord of hosts:
Reflect on your experience!
You have sown much, but have brought in little; you have eaten, but have not been satisfied;
You have drunk, but have not become intoxicated; you have clothed yourselves, but have not been warmed;
And the hired worker labors for a bag full of holes.  (Haggai 1: 5 - 6).

God asks them to reflect on their experiences, their self-interest to decide what is best for them.

Jesus teaches the most direct way for getting what we want from life:

"But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness,  and all these things will be given you besides.   Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil." (Matthew 6: 33 - 34).

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

I fell on my knees stretching out my hands to the Lord my God.

"Then, at the time of the evening sacrifice, I rose in my wretchedness, and with cloak and mantle torn I fell on my knees, stretching out my hands to the Lord, my God."  (Ezra 9: 5).

These are the words of Ezra, the priest scribe who shepherded  Israel at the return from the Babylonian Exile.  He was making a heart wrenching prayer of intercession for his people. This is one of the key tasks of the priest.

Did you notice the posture of Ezra?
"I fell on my knees, stretching out my hands to the Lord, my God."  (Ezra 9: 5).

In Real Estate, they talk of location, location, location. In Prayer, we might say: posture, posture, posture.

"Come, let us worship and bow down.
Let us kneel before the Lord our maker." (Psalm 95: 6).

Why is posture critical in revealing our faith? Our posture before any person reveals the attitude of our heart toward the person.
All throughout the Bible, posture in prayer matters a great deal. Examples:
People prostrate, kneel, bow, raise their hands, sit still before the LORD.  If you find yourself before the President, how do you stand? With your hands in your pockets chewing gum?  Does God deserve less respect when you are before Him in Prayer?

Postures symbolize humility, subservience and dependence.

“Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.  The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity... ......... But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner."  (Luke 18: 10 13).

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Monday, September 25, 2017

Mother and Son - 2 Hearts: One Heartbeat!

"The mother of Jesus and his brothers came to him but were unable to join him because of the crowd.
He was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside and they wish to see you.”
He said to them in reply, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”  (Luke 8: 19 - 21).

Mother and brothers of Jesus:  People had wondered, disputed and fought over the meaning of "brothers and sisters" of Jesus. Now did Mary have any other children apart from Jesus.  Nowhere in the Scriptures is this affirmed. 2000 years of Church tradition has maintained unanimously that Jesus is pure and simply the Only Son of Mary. All the Church Fathers, all the 35 Doctors of the Church, all the 266 Popes have all affirmed the truth that the Blessed Virgin Mary enjoys the unique privilege of perpetual virginity which means that Mary was virgin before the birth of Jesus, she remained virgin during the birth of Jesus and she was virgin after the birth of her Only Son. One of her many titles is Queen of Virgins. In Heaven, there is an Order of women who lived and died virgins during their earthly life. Many of them are canonized saints. Mary is their Queen.

Today's Scripture (Luke 8: 19 - 21) reads brothers [and sisters] of Jesus. The term simply means relatives.  There was no controversy about the Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary till the 5th century. Fortunately, the foremost biblical scholar of all times, Church Father and Doctor of the Church, St Jerome was still alive at the time. He despatched the problem so decisively that the issue was not heard of again till the 16th century at the time of the Reformation.  Martin Luther and most of the early Reformers believed in the Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Now think of this:  About 50% of Christians believe in the Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the other 50% do not. Why does this matter? Because who Mary is helps us to understand  Jesus the Son of Mary. You can not separate these two realities.

“My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”  (Luke 8: 21).

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Sunday, September 24, 2017

When the Lord delivered us from Babylon, it seemed like a dream!

"The LORD inspired King Cyrus of Persia to issue this proclamation throughout his kingdom, both by word of mouth and in writing:
“Thus says Cyrus, king of Persia:
‘All the kingdoms of the earth
the LORD, the God of heaven, has given to me, and he has also charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah."  (Ezra 1: 1 - 2).

What is going on here? The Israelites were in exile in Babylon when Cyrus, king of Persia defeated Babylon and God asked Cyrus, a pagan king to free the Israelites.
You may ask: Can God work through anybody or anything? Of course He can and does it all the time. Never forget that all power comes from God.

"When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion, we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with rejoicing.

"Then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad indeed."  (Psalm 126: 1-6).

Are you waiting for restoration, deliverance, healing, renewal?
The above Scripture will give you immense hope. What God did once, He can do again and again.
"All things serve God."  (Psalm 119: 91). Your deliverance, restoration may come suddenly. Be alert!

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Saturday, September 23, 2017

My thoughts are not your thoughts nor are My ways your ways.

"These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and the heat."  (Matthew 20: 12).

The Lord paid exactly the same wage to workers who worked from 4 pm to 5 pm as those who worked from 9 am to 5 pm. If you are one of those who sweated for 8 hours, would you be aggrieved? I certainly would.

Jesus answered us:
"Am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?’ Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”  (Matthew 20:  15 - 16).

This calls for a sombre reflection on divine logic. The answer to this puzzle is started in the first reading today from Isaiah:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways—oracle of the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts."  (Isaiah 55: 8 - 9).

The Divine Providence is inscrutable and yet fair and just. Consider the following:
#1. Jesus came and founded one Church. Yet His holy will allowed the Church to be splintered into thousands of factions.
#2.  Six centuries after the beginning of Christianity, Mohammed came along, founded Islam and destroyed Christianity in North Africa, Middle East and other areas. God permitted it.
#3. Why did God allow Hitler to commit the Holocaust?
#4. Why did Hurricane Harvey, Irma, Maria, earthquakes happen?
#5. Why did God permit His only Son, Jesus who is completely sinless to be hated without cause, then tortured and crucified?

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways."  (Isaiah 55: 8).

"We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose."  (Romans 8: 28).

There will be no answers for you if you do not love God. So if you want to understand, you must believe.

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Friday, September 22, 2017

How do you deal with anxieties?

"Some seed fell among thorns,
and the thorns grew with it and choked it." (Luke 8: 7).

You must identify the thorns choking your spiritual life and move away from them. Not easy. With Jesus everything is possible. (Matthew 19: 26).

"As for the seed that fell among thorns, they are the ones who have heard, but as they go along, they are choked by the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life, and they fail to produce mature fruit."   Lk 8: 14).

Among the chokers of life mentioned here are:
#1 Anxieties
#2 Riches
#3 Pleasures of life

Most spiritual writers would say that anxieties is the worst of the 3. If the other two choke the spiritual life out of you quick and easy, anxieties act like a giant python that wraps you in a deadly embrace and kill you by slow motion.  No wonder our master and teacher, St Paul warns us:
"Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."  (Philippians 4: 6 - 7 NLT).

“For the love of money is the
root of all kinds of evil. Some
people, eager for money, have
wandered from the faith and
pierced themselves with
many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6: 10)

If you do not worry about money here and now, thank God for the grace of the present Moment. Have you worried in the past?  Almost everyone.  Will you worry in the future?  Most certainly Yes. But you have now the tool to deal with it.

Do not worry about money because God promises to provide what you need.

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

9-22

”Whoever loves money never
has enough; whoever loves
wealth is never satisfied with
their income. This too is
meaningless.” (Ecclesiastes
5: 10)

“For the love of money is the
root of all kinds of evil. Some
people, eager for money, have
wandered from the faith and
pierced themselves with
many griefs,” (1 Timothy 6: 10)

Do not worry about money because God promises to provide what you need.

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
So we say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5 - 6)

"Those who want to be rich are falling into temptation and into a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge them into ruin and destruction." (1 Timothy 6: 9).

This is the Spirit's message to the churches, today, Friday in the 24th Week in Ordinary Time.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

I came to call sinners and not the just.

“Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”  Jesus heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.  Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’  I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”  (Matthew 9: 11 - 13).

Today is the feast of St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist. Jesus called Matthew to follow Him from his Tax Man's office. The people were highly scandalized by this action of Jesus. Why Matthew the corrupt sinner, they questioned? "The call and gift of God is irrevocable."  (Romans 11: 29).

The Lord blotted out his sins and removed his impediments. He then made him a priest and evangelist. Matthew went on to write the first Gospel which bears his name.

"O God, who with untold mercy
were pleased to choose as an Apostle Saint Matthew, the tax collector, grant that, sustained by his example and intercession,
we may merit to hold firm in following you.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son."  (Collect on the Feast of St Matthew).

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

9-20

"But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth."  (1 Timothy 3: 15).

St Paul is here coaching Timothy, the young Bishop he ordained.
How should Timothy behave in the Household of God?
The Household of God is the Church of the living God.  Further, he calls the Church "the pillar and foundation of truth."

We all are members of the Household of God. We are all living stones in this building which is the pillar and foundation of truth.  How should we behave in the Church? This same Church is "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone." (Ephesians 2: 20).

"I will praise the Lord with all my heart in the assembled congregation of the upright.  Great are the works of the Lord,
studied by all who delight in them."  Psalm 111: 1 - 2)

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Of mercy and judgment I will sing to you O Lord.

"When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity for her and said to her, “Do not weep.”  He stepped forward and touched the coffin; at this the bearers halted, and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!”  The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother."  (Luke 7: 13-15).

Jesus was moved with pity for the widow. With Jesus, mercy is always superabundant.

"Never forget your promises [of mercy] to me your servant, for they are my only hope. They give me strength in all my troubles; how they refresh and revive me!"  (Cf Psalm 119:  49 - 50 TLB).

As you remind Jesus of His promise of mercy, show mercy to your family and friends.

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Father, let us see the workings of Your mercy in our lives.

"Look upon us, O God,
Creator and ruler of all things,
and, that we may feel the working of your mercy,
grant that we may serve you with all our heart.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever."  (Collect on Monday, the 24th Week of Ordinary Time).

You may be surprised to learn that the formal prayer of the Church in Sacred Liturgy like the Mass elicits faith and may be called "Scripturette" with a big "S".  This ancient Wisdom of the Church is called "Lex orandi, Lex credendi", meaning simply "the law of prayer is the law of Belief /Faith."   To paraphrase, we believe in the sense or sentiments of the above prayer as we believe the word of God.

Do you need to see the workings of God's mercy in your life? Then do the two things in the above prayer:

#1 Pray every day to see the workings of God's mercy in your life.
#2 Serve the Lord with all your heart. How?

"But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also."  (Matthew 6: 33 AMP).

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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Remember your last days; set enmity aside.

“Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times." (Matthew 18: 21 - 23).

The Holy Spirit has One lesson for the Church this Sunday, the 24th in Ordinary Time. FORGIVE EVERYONE WHO OFFENDS YOU. NOT ONCE OR A HUNDRED TIMES BUT IF NECESSARY, A BILLION TIMES.

That's how God deals with us. "I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to."  (Matthew 18: 32).

"Forgive your neighbor the wrong done to you; then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven.
Does anyone nourish anger against another and expect healing from the Lord?" (Sirach 28: 2 - 3).

Sirach gives one further good reason to forgive:
"Remember your last days and set enmity aside; remember death and decay, and cease from sin!
Remember the commandments and do not be angry with your neighbor."  (Sirach 28: 6 - 7).

God constantly surprises us with His mercies as the Responsorial Psalm for this Sunday reminds us:
"He pardons all your sins, and heals all your ills." (Psalm 103: 3).
"He has not dealt with us as our sins merit, nor requited us as our wrongs deserve." (Psalm 103: 10).
"As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our sins from us."  (Psalm 103: 12).

Ask for mercy.
Be merciful.
Completely trust Jesus for mercy.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Have mercy on me God and blot out my transgressions.

"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
Of these I am the foremost.
But for that reason I was mercifully treated, so that in me, as the foremost, Christ Jesus might display all his patience as an example for those who would come to believe in him for everlasting life."  (1 Timothy 1: 16 - 17).

Paul regarded himself as an example of a great sinner.  Why then did Jesus chose for such a lofty mission and place in His Kingdom? Precisely because of the marked weakness of St Paul.  We are rightly encouraged to believe that if Jesus wiped out the sins of Paul and filled him with grace and mercy, He will do the same for us.

Other examples of great sinners who were restored and filled with grace and mercy:
King David, St Augustine, St Mary Magdalene.

"God creates out of nothing. Wonderful you say. Yes, to be sure, but he does what is still more wonderful: he makes saints out of sinners."  (Søren Kierkegaard).

St Ignatius of Loyola who was no stranger to sin and repentance said that it is impossible to recognize our sins unless we can perceive inwardly that the Redeemer is standing very close to us to embrace us.

The Miserere (Psalm 51)is God's inspired Prayer-Psalm for the sinner. I have used it often and I guarantee that it is effective.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2: 8).

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9-16

"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
Of these I am the foremost.
But for that reason I was mercifully treated, so that in me, as the foremost, Christ Jesus might display all his patience as an example for those who would come to believe in him for everlasting life."  (1 Timothy 1: 16 - 17).

Paul regarded himself as an example of a great sinner.  Why then did Jesus chose for such a lofty mission and place in His Kingdom? Precisely because of the marked weakness of St Paul.  We are rightly encouraged to believe that if Jesus wiped out the sins of Paul and filled him with grace and mercy, He will do the same for us.

Other examples of great sinners who were restored and filled with grace and mercy:
King David, St Augustine, St Mary Magdalene.

"God creates out of nothing. Wonderful you say. Yes, to be sure, but he does what is still more wonderful: he makes saints out of sinners."  (Søren Kierkegaard).

St Ignatius of Loyola who was no stranger to sin and repentance said that it is impossible to recognize our sins unless we can perceive inwardly that the Redeemer is standing very close to us to embrace us.

The Miserere (Psalm 51)is God's inspired Prayer-Psalm for the sinner. I have used it often and I guarantee that it is effective.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2: 8).

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Mary stood under the cross to the end.


"Standing by the cross of Jesus was his mother."  (John 19: 25).

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.

Mary did not run away from the cross. She could not pull Jesus down from the cross. Mary could not attack the Roman soldiers with spears or sticks.  She just stood by the cross, absorbing everything; time passing so slowly. Yes, this is her destiny. This is the moment. She has become Sorrow personified. She has become prematurely Our Lady of Sorrows. She has become Mother of all the sorrowful.  "And a sword will pierce your own soul too."  (Luke 2: 35).  Simeon prophesied.

"Christ learned obedience and became the source of eternal salvation."  (Hebrews 5: 8 - 9).

O Mary, what did you learn standing under the cross?

"Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary;
without dying you won the martyr’s crown beneath the Cross of the Lord."  (Gospel Acclamation on the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows).

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

When I am lifted up, I will draw everyone to Myself.

"We should glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ in whom is our salvation, life and resurrection,
through whom we are saved and delivered."  (Cf Galatians 6: 14).

Glorifying in the Cross? Glorifying in humiliation, suffering and pain? Really? Then tell me to glorify in Hurricane Irma and Harvey!!
That is the point.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways—oracle of the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts.  (Isaiah 55: 8 - 9).

"And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.”  (John 12: 32).

"We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because by your Cross you have redeemed the world."  (Gospel Acclamation, Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross).

"O God, who willed that your Only Begotten Son should undergo the Cross to save the human race,
grant, we pray, that we, who have known his mystery on earth,
may merit the grace of his redemption in heaven.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever."  (Collect on the Feast of the Exultation of the Cross, Thursday, September 14th).

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Share your bread with the hungry.

“Blessed are you who are poor,
 for the kingdom of God is yours."  (Luke 6 : 20).

What is your attitude to money? Are you scared to death of poverty? Don't be ashamed. I used to be in that club a little while ago. When you discover the truth of the real freedom and victory that Jesus came to give us, you will be laughing and jumping for joy.

Today is the feast of St John Chrysostom, Father and Doctor of the Church.  John was the Archbishop of Constantinople, now Istanbul (Turkey), then the 2nd most important city in the world. St John Chrysostom challenged the rich and powerful to find and enjoy genuine freedom and victory in their lives by sharing their wealth with the poor. He said among other things:

"Not to share our own wealth with the poor is theft from the poor and deprivation of their means of life; we do not possess our own wealth, but theirs."
(Saint John Chrysostom).

The pathway to victory and freedom passes through the doors of the poor.

"Seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth."  (Colossians 3: 1- 2).

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Jesus healed everyone who came to Him in expectant faith.

"Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him because power came forth from him and healed them all."  (Luke 6 : 19).

God is the Father of all. (Ephesians 4: 6).  God loves everything He created. (Psalm 145: 9).  Jesus, the true image of Abba Father has no problem healing everyone who came to Him with faith. (Colossians 1: 15; Luke 6: 19).

Jesus desires everyone to be saved which is a bigger deal than being healed of the worst disease. (1 Timothy 2: 4). Because He desired everyone to be saved, He showed this by dying for everyone. (2 Corinthians 5: 15). He forgave all those who crucified Him not after the event but while still on the cross experiencing the excruciating agony. (Luke 23: 34). Even the Good Thief who was crucified with Jesus had all his sins wiped out and promised Paradise then and there. (Luke 23: 43).

Today is the feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary.

"Glorious things are spoken of you, O Virgin Mary,
for he who is mighty has done great things for you."  (Cf Luke 1: 49).

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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Show mercy when You judge me, Your servant.

"Lord, You are just, and the judgments You make are right. Show mercy when you judge me, Your servant." (Psalm 118: 137, 124 - Entrance Antiphon Monday 23rd Week in Ordinary Time).

As I considered my will and the final minutes in this world, I chose the above as my last prayer.

"Only in God be at rest, my soul, for from him comes my hope.
He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be disturbed."

In God is my safety and my glory.

"Trust in him at all times, O my people!
Pour out your hearts before him;
God is our refuge!"  (Psalm 62: 6 - 7, 9).

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, we love You. We trust in You. Have mercy on us and the whole world. Amen!

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Saturday, September 09, 2017

Love does no evil to the neighbor.

"Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law."  (Romans 13: 10).

What is love?
"Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated,  it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,  it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."  (1 Corinthians 13: 4 - 7).

“If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend." (Matthew 18: 15 MSG).

How can we share in the mission of reconciliation of Jesus? Practice the spiritual works of mercy:

1.Instruct the ignorant
2.Counsel the doubtful
3.Admonish sinners
4.Bear wrongs patiently
5.Forgive offences willingly
6.Comfort the afflicted
7.Pray for the living and the dead

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Friday, September 08, 2017

The Church of all nations.

"Brothers and sisters:
You once were alienated and hostile in mind because of evil deeds."  (Colossians 1: 21).

Who are the people who were once alienated and hostile in mind to the Church because of evil deeds?  I am one example. And today I know it was because of my evil deeds.

The government recently struck a mortal blow to 800,000 young Dreamers in revoking the DACA. The Catholic Bishops, the Voice of the voiceless appropriately condemned  the bizarre action.

Some of the misguided defenders of the DACA Revocation attributed the Bishops' action to self interest.  The Bishops they claim want the Dreamers to fill  pews and contribute money to the Church.

Why are these people so obsessed with money, sex and power? Please open your minds and learn the truth because only the truth shall make you free. (John 8: 32).

The Catholic Church pursues from the beginning with fidelity  the mission given to her by Jesus. The Church does not pursue success as this world reckons success. The accomplishment of this divine mission is not dependent on people power, hard work or money. It is already guaranteed by Jesus Christ Himself.  Unlike the world's political powers, we know the end already.
"I shall be with you till the end of the world." (Matthew 28: 20). And again, "The gates of hell shall never prevail against the Church."  (Matthew 16: 18).

When I arrived in London many years ago for postgraduate studies, I did not know anybody in the huge city. The first thing I asked:  "Where is the nearest Catholic Church?" All over Europe today, the pews are being filled by migrants.  It is the divine predestination to revitalize the Church in Europe.  Is the same thing happening in the Church in America? The migrants need the Church. The Church needs them to fulfill her mission. 

For the ubernationalists, know that the Church is not national but above nation states. Catholic means universal. The Church has always been universal from the beginning. The Church is not European, American, African, Chinese, etc.  All these nations are part of the Church family. For the avoidance of doubt, this creed or belief is repeated by the Congregation every Sunday all over the world:
"I BELIEVE IN THE ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC AND APOSTOLIC CHURCH."

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Wednesday, September 06, 2017

We have worked all night and have caught nothing.

"Jesus said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”  Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.”  When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing."  (Luke 5: 4 - 6)

Simon Peter lowered his net at the command of Christ and the result was a great number of fish was caught. 
At the Wedding Feast at Cana, Mary said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." (John 2: 5). They did and water was turned into wine.

I too like Simon Peter and his companions have toiled "all night" and many nights have caught nothing.  What is Christ's word to me?  I want to do whatever Jesus tells me?  But what must I do?  I want to act "at your word" Lord Jesus.  What is your word to me?

Trust and Obey!  There is no other way to have the best of Jesus!

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Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Jesus stood over her and rebuked the fever.

"After Jesus left the synagogue, he entered the house of Simon.
Simon’s mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever, and they interceded with him about her.
He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her....

"At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him.
He laid his hands on each of them and cured them.
And demons also came out from many, shouting, “You are the Son of God.”  (Luke 4: 38 - 41).

Luke, the physician narrates here a tale of illnesses, demonic possessions and healings by Jesus.  Where do disease, ignorance, demonic possession and poverty come from?  Ultimately the answer will be found in Genesis Chapter 3.

How does dealing with these problems core to the Messianic vocation of Jesus?
Isaiah forecast that the Messiah will do all the above and more.
"Then the eyes of the blind shall see, and the ears of the deaf be opened; Then the lame shall leap like a stag, and the mute tongue sing for joy."  (Isaiah 35: 5 - 6).

The three aspects of the ministry of Jesus are:
Teaching, Healing and Feeding. Jesus left these tasks to the Church when He ascended into Heaven. (Mark 16: 17 - 18).

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Monday, September 04, 2017

I have learned the secret of Times and Seasons. St Paul.

"Concerning times and seasons, brothers, you have no need for anything to be written to you.  For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night."  (1 Thessalonians 5: 1 - 2).

"To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven." (Ecclesiastes 3: 1).

The central message of Times and Seasons is the need to be vigilant at all times.

"I have learned the secret of.... living in abundance and of being in need."  (Philippians 4: 12 ).

There is Times and Seasons in God's plan of provision for our needs.

"Thus says the Lord:
Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord."  (Jeremiah 17: 5).

If we want to enjoy change of seasons in our lives, we must trust in God with all our hearts.

"God of might, giver of every good gift, put into our hearts the love of your name, so that, by deepening our sense of reverence,
you may nurture in us what is good
and, by your watchful care,
keep safe what you have nurtured.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever."  (Collect Tuesday, 22nd Week in Ordinary Time).

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Sunday, September 03, 2017

Is the Spirit of the Lord upon you?

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me;
he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor."  (Luke 4: 18).

Is the Spirit of the Lord upon you or not? How do you know?

Have you a heart for evangelization or spreading the good news that Jesus is the LORD and not money, your job or family?
How much do you hunger for the Kingdom of God to come everywhere and reign in the hearts and minds of every man and woman?
What is your attitude to the gracious will of God? Casual, unimportant or wouldn't careless?

Jesus promises that His awesome Holy Spirit will be given at once to anybody who desires and asks for Him.  (Luke 11: 13).

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Saturday, September 02, 2017

How do you read the Signs of the Times?

"Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect."  (Romans 12:  2).

What are the signs of the times?
What are the characteristics of our age?

1. Lack of faith
2. Lack of reverence for God
3. Extreme materialism
4. Love of leisure and the soft life
5. Gluttony
6. Contentious spirit
7. Shallowness in communication
8. Unwillingness to make lasting commitment
9. Individualism
10. Love of money

The Bible warns us not to conform ourselves to this lifestyle but to oppose it by the daily renewal of our minds through prayer and the word of God.

"God of might, giver of every good gift, put into our hearts the love of your name, so that, by deepening our sense of reverence,
you may nurture in us what is good
and, by your watchful care,
keep safe what you have nurtured.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever."  (Collect 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time).

SeekFirstcommunity.com